The homeless women I met with this morning talked about harmful spaces they no longer want to be a part of; and their struggles to occupy the anything-but spaces. They were floating — inhabiting temporary spaces, experiencing disconnect, and dreaming of settling. They glorified their stories in terms of “lives of travel.”
They highlighted for me how place, at any age, makes such a difference. Most of us take” home” for granted. And most of the people I know are so bonded to the places they call home that they never want to leave.
As more people age at home (many without family nearby), local networks and resources seem more crucial than ever. And it seems as if more and more communities are coming together to anticipate this, and to envision sustainable, empowering spaces.
My neighborhood is holding a meeting today about creating a community that prevents homelessness, abuse, school drop outs, and injuries from falling. We’re talking about a community that cares about people across the lifecourse — children, teens, adults, and seniors. The conversation will about building social fabric as well as supportive infrastructure (e.g. so that streets have sidewalks, and sidewalks have cutouts for stroller and walkers). I see the conversation as a beginning in confronting social problems that affect us all.
This conversation makes me appreciate what I have — neighbors who reach out to one another and a location where much of what I need is within walking distance. It also makes me think, 25-50 years from now, how might my ideal place to live and age look different? What would it look like for both my home and my community to respond to my most pressing needs, as well as the needs of others?
Does anyone want to share stories about choosing, creating, and/or designing communities and/or living spaces that fit with your needs and ideals?